Once upon a time, not so long ago, the dreamy spires of Oxford sent out smoke semaphores signalling Socratic erudition. “The unexamined life is not worth living,” eccentric dons chorused in consensus with cerebral undergraduates as seekers-after-truth savagely duelled over the Herculean questions of life.
Not anymore. Today, snowflake students scratching pale pimply faces wail like Edvard Munch’s The Scream if an idea deemed different worms its way into their safe spaces and bites them in the buttocks. “Abandon thought all ye who enter here,” is Oxford’s new motto. No wonder, the progressive denizens of Oxford’s Town and Gown are now denser than a block of enriched uranium.
Which is why, one hitherto unknown individual, Ian Brooke, sporting the awe-inspiring title of Head of Community Services, suddenly began dribbling off like an old man’s unhappy micturition when he saw the title of my lecture scheduled for Thursday at Oxford Town Hall.
Mr. Brooke says his claque of nappy-wearing Thought Police Commissars from Oxford City Council “received complaints from residents who were upset by the title of the proposed lecture.”
Many moons ago, local gladiators from the Oxford Men’s Rights Movement had invited me to deliver a lecture on the solipsistic sorority known as feminism. They asked me to furnish them with an attractive title for the lecture, which as the biblical proverb says, was to be like apples of gold in a setting of silver.
The mischief-monger in me immediately thought of one Margaret Thatcher who had made her views on feminism as clear as the notes of a cavalry bugle. “For I hate feminism. It is poison,” the Iron Lady had said.
This same Thatcher (who I had the great privilege of dining with at the 25th anniversary of the Falklands War) was a Chemistry undergraduate at Oxford University (in the days when the only safe spaces were loos and confessionals).
I could have crafted Maggie’s declamation into a jaunty title that would have sent Mr Brooke and his flunkeys into a state of febrile discombobulation. But my Super-ego won the battle with my baser Id and I hammered out the clumsy clatter of a title far less inspirational: Feminism was women’s great enemy—until transgenderism came along.
What happened? Every brick and book in the Bodleian came a tumblin’ down like the walls of Jericho.
The village intellects of the Oxford City Council led by the highly qualified Ian Brooke, who, in case you didn’t know, has a degree in Leisure Management, (Magna Cum Laude) decided to accumulate virtue signalling points at compound interest by caving in to the regressive snowflakes and banning my lecture.
With the gravitas of a papal bull, they published this proclamation on Twitter: “We have cancelled the booking for this event. We were not aware of the subject of the lecture when the booking was made, and we would like to apologise to Oxford’s LGBTQIA+ community for the distress this has caused.”
Hmm… if I had made the juddering tribune of glorified dingbats aware of my subject they would need to go back to “uni” to do a proper degree in a real subject like philosophy or chemistry.
My talk was on how Gnosticism (with links to classical Hinduism) forms the foundation for feminism and transgenderism. Why? Because radical feminism and transgenderism reject the ontological and biological basis of womanhood and gender. “One is not born, but becomes a woman” (Simone de Beauvoir).
Now do you think our Ian’s professors at the Leisure Management Circus would have introduced him to words like “ontology” and worldviews like “Gnosticism”?
Nevertheless, Ian and his gang of gung-ho grovellers made sure their notification was hyper-inclusive. LGBTQIA+ Clap! Clap! Clap!
If the “B” in the pansexual alphabet soup were for “brown,” i.e. “brown-skinned” or “black,” Ian wouldn’t have banned me from his Town Hall. Instead, Ian would be greeting me with a garland, Indian style, and glorying in how his diversity model had included an Indian immigrant talking about Hinduism.
Ian’s Leisure Management instructors might have alerted him to bring a sacred cow or an elephant in case a brown-skinned speaker of Indian origin graced the Town Hall with his avatar. “And don’t laugh if his accent is like Apu from The Simpsons,” a footnote in Ian’s Handbook of Leisure Management would state.
The Oxford City Council’s edict proceeded to spout more grievance gibberish. “We support Oxford Pride festival and the LGBT+ Oxfordshire website, and this lecture does not accord with our core commitment to valuing diversity.” Whaaat?
I thought councils were supposed to take out our trash and recycle our garbage.
Taxpayers cough blood paying exorbitant council taxes so we can sponsor non-jobs like Head of Community Services teaching us to value “diversity”? And does Ian know the dictionary meaning of diversity? “Showing a great deal of variety; very different,” is how my dictionary defines the term.
As a brown-skinned person of Indian origin with a French first name, a Latin second name and a Portuguese surname, speaking six Indian languages, a wife who loves wearing saris, an immigrant who has lived in a slum in Mumbai, holding “very different” ideas to the Oxford-elite progressives and with a PhD from Cambridge University, I could have been Ian’s mascot for diversity!
But no! In Newspeak, the language of the progressive Orwellian religion, “diversity” does not mean “very different” or “showing a great deal of variety.” It means rigid, doctrinaire, totalitarian conformity to a very narrow orthodoxy that is dictated by a very small minority of cultural Marxists.
Our lecture had been booked for months and video filming arranged. Cancelling the booking two days before the event, left organisers with very little time to find a new venue, meaning the public lecture could not go ahead at all.
Such are the threats to free speech in Britain from violent left-wing activists that there were already additional security arrangements in place and I was warned to bring a change of clothes in case someone ‘milkshaked’ me.
All said and done, like a circus contortionist performing Durvasa’s pose, Oxford City Council’s fiat climaxed with its cleverest circumambage: “While we support the principle of free speech this does not give anyone the right to use Oxford City Council as a platform for discriminatory speech. It has no place in any of our buildings, and we are undertaking a review of our bookings policy to prevent this from happening again.”
Suddenly, Twitter was hit by a khamsin—a sandstorm thick as a black blizzard. Free speech supporters, including gay people, hurled elephant dung at Oxford City Council. Facebook warriors hammered Ian and his middle managers for their fervid fulminations.
This isn’t the first time Oxford City Council has exhibited stratospheric idiocy. A couple of years ago it called for a ban on the use of ‘Mr’ and ‘Mrs’ because the terms are “not inclusive” of transgender people. It also supported a call by an Oxford headteacher for schools to stop referring to female pupils as ‘girls’ in case it upsets those who question their gender identity.
But—and this really takes the whole tin of biscuits—in 2014 it banned the Good Friday street theatre “Passion of the Christ,” a centuries-old English tradition, because Oxford City Council thought it was a live sex show!
Before you go, Ian Brooke, Head of Community Services, would like you to take a 10 second lesson in Newspeak. Log on to Oxford City Council’s Twitter account and read the bio on the profile: “We’re building a world-class city for everyone.” Now repeat this a hundred times as if it is a mantra from the Upanishads and you will attain the new Oxford utopian LGBTQIA+ nirvana.